In recent times, one of the issues that occupy the front burner of Nigerian polity is good governance. Bad governance has been unanimously identified as the bane of our epileptic economy. It follows therefore that there is a need for a holistic nation building.
In this short write up, I examine the role of lawyers in nation building. Though not exhaustive, the following underscores the various aspects lawyers can contribute and are actually contributing to building our dear nation:
- LAW AS A NECESSARY CATALYST FOR NATION BUILDING: One key reason why lawyers play a pivotal role in nation building is the instrumentality of law. No nation in modern times can survive without laws. Laws are made to regulate many sectors such as the economic sector, agricultural sector, educational sector, religious sector, the polity of a nation and all other sectors. It is when we have good and functional laws that all these sectors will thrive effectively and when these sectors are proactive, then a nation is bound to be solidly built.
- LAWYERS AS VICARIOUS CARRIERS OF THE ROLE OF LAW FOR NATION BUILDING: Having briefly shown that law is a necessary instrument of nation building, I must also make mention that lawyers are the custodians of these laws. They understand the laws better and can sue for change when these laws are not religiously followed by public office holders and thus effectively assist in building the nation. . In fact, lawyers more often than not serve as watchdogs in the decision making process. For example, the elections just concluded have received feelers from lawyers as to the fairness, legality or otherwise of the elections. Also history will not be in haste to forget the monumental strides achieved by Gani Fawehinmi not for his self-aggrandisement but for the generality of Nigerians and the Nigeria.
- LAWYERS AS POTENTIAL LAW MAKERS AND NOT JUST COURT ROOM ADVOCATES: To those whose may not have fully appreciated the expansive coast lawyers cover, they will constrict the whole life of a lawyer to the court room. For this, I will not apportion blame but in as much as we concede to the court room advocacy role of a lawyer, a lawyer’s occupation and preoccupation goes beyond that. A lawyer is a potential law maker. It is believed, though arguable that lawyers if given the opportunity will make better laws for nation building. This is because they understand the import and purport of legislation. Obvious loopholes that are easily detectable to a lawyer may not be spotted by someone who is not armed with the canons of interpretation. Therefore, as law makers, lawyers can build our nation.
- LAWYERS AS CLASS ROOM TEACHERS IN UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY: You can agree with me that the university environment is a ground where a nation’s strength and future is built. Great scholars, exceptional leaders, mighty men of God, great entrepreneurs and innovative scientists are moulded in the university. Consequently all the occupants of the seats in the three arms of government pass through the school environment as a necessary stage in self-development. As a positive corollary, well-trained and educated people puts the nation in the right direction for nation building. Lawyers play the role of educating young minds to achieve their dreams and become future agents of change in the country.
In conclusion, the role of lawyers in nation building cannot be fully exhausted in a paper as short as this but suffice it to say that lawyers have serious responsibility when issues of great national significance like nation building is discussed for the law is to nation what a lawyer is to nation building.